• Customers can now open a bank account with FNB by taking a selfie.
  • New biometric technology, which tests your selfie against department of home affairs records, as well as new verification requirements, has allowed for this breakthrough.
  • Business Insider SA tested the new technology. 


No more long banking queues and filling out forms: You can now open an FNB account by simply taking a selfie of yourself. It can be done in the comfort of your home and at any time of the day.

This is thanks to new biometric technology which verifies your identity against department of home affairs records. 

FNB's selfie technology complies with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FICA) and the South African Reserve Bank verification requirements. FICA changed its approach to client verification last year. It now allows accountable institutions to use their discretion on how much information they need from a client - provided that the client is not considered to be high risk.

This means that banks may not require all the Fica documentation (including ID and proof of home address) that were requested in the past. 

Business Insider tried to open an FNB account with a selfie. This is how it works:

1. To open an account or switch from another bank, first download the FNB App. We managed to do that successfully, with the app (40MB) a reasonable size.

2. Once you have the app, you have to choose a bank account type. We chose the cheque account. 

3. You are then asked to enter your email address, cellphone number and SA ID number.

4. An one-time personal identification number (OTP) is sent to you. You are then supposed to take a selfie that, using biometric technology, will verify your identity. 

After a third attempt, we received an OTP, but after typing it in, it took us back to the home screen. 

We tried again the followed morning, and opened a new bank account in under 15 minutes.

We received the OTP without a hitch, and then proceeded to accept FirstRand's terms and conditions.

Then came time for the fun part: taking and submitting a selfie.

We entered our home address, and the app picked up the location from Google Maps. We then filled in a short form with more personal and financial details – and quickly received an SMS congratulating us on becoming a “FirstRand Citizen”. The app promised that a bank card would be delivered after three working days.

What was striking about the FNB app was that it used an algorithm to suggest a type of bank account that would suit us best, based on our personal details.

See also: Want credit? A new court ruling says you may not need to provide payslips or bank statements any more

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